North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara expressed interest in the Police Federation’s #Medalsforheroes campaign when he attended a Parliamentary engagement event at the House of Commons yesterday.
Mr Vara was one of 50 MPs to attend the event at which a number of key Federation campaigns were discussed including the drive for a posthumous medal for fallen police officers through #Medalsforheroes.
Liz Groom, chair of Cambridgeshire Police Federation, said: “I am really pleased that Mr Vara has taken an interest in this campaign which would bring recognition for family and friends left behind of the sacrifice their loved one made. This award would be a symbol from the state to recognise the dangers faced by emergency service workers every day.
“We hope that he gets behind the Federation on this issue and that other county MPs will also offer their support.”
The event, which was also attended by Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, was opened by the Police Federation of England and Wales deputy chair Tiff Lynch who is also the staff association’s Parliamentary lead.
She told MPs: “We won’t leave here today without an ask: for you to spread the word among your colleagues and recognise the unique position police hold, as they continue to hold the thin blue line and service our communities 365 days a year.
“We are entering the Christmas period and it is going to be incredibly busy. Our officers are out there working extremely hard, and they are tired.
“The thin blue line is broken, and without sufficient investment in policing, officers will not be able to keep up with new technology innovations criminals use, will not be able to stretch resources to attend all crimes and, ultimately, will not be to keep our communities safe from the rise in violent crime.”
During the event, which was sponsored by Kent MP Louie French, Federation representatives spoke to MPs including shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, Tom Pursglove, Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, former Home Secretary Priti Patel and former policing minister Kit Malthouse.
Others guests included members of the House of Lords and police and crime commissioners and discussions focussed on the pressures faced by police officers, the lack of investment in policing and the need for fair pay, conditions and recognition.
In addition to the #MedalsforHeroes campaign for an honorary medal that will be awarded to those who work in the emergency services killed in the line of duty, other Federation campaigns championed at the event were:
#FairPayForPolice – calling for alternative to the unjust police pay review mechanism that has impacted officers for years and been the source of disputes with successive governments. The Federation is calling for a pay rise to cover the cost of living crisis which ties into the Early Day Motion 547 tabled by Emma Lewell-Buck MP.
#SimplifyDG6 – changes to the Crown Prosecution Service guidance on disclosure has impeded justice and has seen victims of various crimes withdraw from active participation due to officers having to find at least an extra four hours to spend on redacting case material at the pre-charge stage. The Federation is lobbying the Government for amendments to the General Data Protection Regulation, Data Protection Act 2018 and the disclosure guidance itself to rectify the damaging and time-consuming problems the current legislation creates.
#TimeLimits – the Federation wants a time limit of 12 months for disciplinary proceedings being brought against officers to be introduced.
Reflecting on the event, Ms Lynch added: “It has been a great success and we have a number of MPs willing to support us in the House of Commons moving forward. We will not stop here, and we will continue engaging with MPs.”